Development of salivary alpha-amylase in infants from birth to 5 months

Am J Clin Nutr. 1984 Apr;39(4):584-8. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/39.4.584.


The alpha-amylase activity in whole saliva of two groups of infants was investigated from birth to 5 months at monthly intervals. Foods used in infant feeding as well as height and weight were recorded at each monthly collection period. alpha-Amylase activity was found to increase rapidly from low values at birth to approximately two-thirds of adult values by 3 months. Large variation in alpha-amylase activity, either per ml of saliva or per mg of protein, was recorded. No significant relationships of alpha-amylase activity with weight, weight for height, growth rate, or presence of starch-containing foods in the diet were found. Introduction of starch-containing food before 3 months of age would likely lead to inadequate hydrolization of starch in some infants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Saliva / enzymology*
  • Starch / administration & dosage
  • alpha-Amylases / metabolism*


  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Starch
  • alpha-Amylases